Utilizing Central Point of Management (CPoM) in VMware vCloud Director 9.7

One of the extremely exciting additions to VMware vCloud Director (vCD) is the ability to present vCenter instances securely to tenant organizations utilizing the vCD user interface – this is referred to as Central Point of Management, or what we abbreviate to as CPoM. Tom Fojta did a great job highlighting what’s new inside of vCD 9.7 here.

In this post, I am going to review the steps required to successfully deploy your first vCenter-SDDC to an organization inside of vCloud Director 9.7. You will need to utilize the CloudAPI, but do not be alarmed, I will walk you through these steps.

First off, what the heck is CPoM?

CPoM is the ability to present a dedicated vCenter instance to an organization, or tenant, via the vCloud Director user interface. In the past, we’ve had many providers providing hosted or dedicated private cloud services.

With the addition of this functionality, we can now utilize vCloud Director to manage both shared and dedicated cloud resources from a single portal.

In essence, the VMware Cloud Provider team is delivering on the promise of transforming vCloud Director into a services platform – and this additional functionality demonstrates that.

So, how do we get started?

High-Level Steps

  1. Add new vCenter instance to vCD Provider Management – UI
  2. Creating a new SDDC instance – API
  3. Publish to specific org/tenant – API
  4. Add Tenant permissions and CPoM Plugin -UI
  5. Proxy Configuration – UI
  6. Enjoy dedicated vCenter-SDDC access via vCD

Adding new vCenter Instance to vCD Provider Management

First up, we need to add this dedicated vCenter instance to the provider management.

My tenant is T1 and will be adding vcsa-01b.corp.local to their organization.

Before, we go into the steps, let’s review the documentation that talks about the high-level steps required.

Managing SDDCs and SDDC Proxies

One important note – you cannot attach an existing vCenter that’s utilized as a provider VDC (pVDC). This is pointed out in the documentation –

First, let’s navigate to vSphere Resources -> vCenters and click the Add button –

Let’s plug in our required connection data –

Next up is the configuration of the NSX-V Manager. I had a conversation with Engineering on this and the applicability for CPoM. While this is not mandatory for accessibility, a tenant can also proxy NSX commands via the proxy configuration. Therefore, depending on your use case, you may or may not want to set this up.

Once completed, we can now see the new vCenter (and what I called vCenter-T1 since it will be dedicated to organization T1) being added to the vCD Provider UI.

Once the operation is complete, we should see this as enabled, but not published to a SP or Tenant.

Creating a new SDDC instance

This has be done via the CloudAPI. First off, let’s explore the new API Explorer which provides some examples and how to parse this utilizing Postman, Curl, or whatever you choose. Navigate to https://vcd-fqdn/api-explorer/provider

Under the sddcs section, we have the following commands available –

Okay, let’s get our bearer-token first. If you are new on setting up Postman for connectivity, Fojta did a great blog post on utilizing the new bearer token with the CloudAPI functionality here.

Get our initial token and pass it through as a variable –

POST https://vcd-fqdn/api/sessions

Now, I want to view the current list of sddcs inside of this vCD instance. I realize we do not have any as of yet, but let’s see what it returns.

GET https://vcd-fdqn/cloudapi/1.0.0/sddcs

As expected, we do not have any SDDCs just yet. Let’s create our first one!

Our POST command will require a JSON body like the below. There are many more fields, but these are the required fields.

{
  "name":"<name of your new SDDC>",
  "description":"<description for your new SDDC>",
"vcId":"<ID of the VC recorded>"
}

But before we add it, we have a prerequisite – we need to get the vCenter ID of the newly added vCenter instance.

To do this, we need to run a GET command to vCenter ID. You will need to run the following:

GET https://vcd-fdqn/api/admin/extension/vimServerReferences

Okay, here’s my results –

And here is my “vCenter-T1” ID!

So for my vCenter-T1, my ID is the following:

id="urn:vcloud:vimserver:419173a9-56bd-471f-929c-3f00c287d21b"

We will add this to the body for when we add this as a new SDDC.

Creation of my JSON body –

{
"name":"vCenter-T1",
"description":"T1 dedicated vCenter",
"vcId":"urn:vcloud:vimserver:419173a9-56bd-471f-929c-3f00c287d21b"
}

Alright, ready to hit the Send button…

And accepted…

I could use the Postman API to check the task, but I also see it running in the UI…

Completed!

Let’s check and see what we have from the API now. Excellent, we now see vCenter-T1 as a new SDDC –

We also see the new ID for this SDDC:

This will be important as we will need this to publish it to the organization T1. First, let’s check and ensure it’s not published to anyone yet.

GET https://vcd-fdqdn/cloudapi/1.0.0/sddcs/urn:vcloud:sddc:29bf292b-07df-4d2f-9155-97dce2bad95d/tenants

As expected, no one has this from a tenant perspective –

Next pre-requisite – we need to get the orgID so we can create the body for the POST to publish this to T1. Our body will need to look like this:

[
{
"name":"org1Name",
"id":"URN-ID"
}
]

Okay, let’s do a GET to /api/org –

Now, let’s crack open the T1 org further – /api/org/<org-ID> to get the URN –

So for my T1 organization, my ID is:

id="urn:vcloud:org:efb57814-44f2-4f60-9848-215be81f1294"

Assembling my body for the POST –

[
{
"name":"T1",
"id":"urn:vcloud:org:efb57814-44f2-4f60-9848-215be81f1294"
}
]

Let’s send it!

Got a 200 OK –

Now, if I do a GET to see what tenants/orgs have it..

GET https://vcd-fqdn/cloudapi/1.0.0/sddcs/urn:vcloud:sddc:29bf292b-07df-4d2f-9155-97dce2bad95d/tenants

We can see T1 has it published:

Behold, I can see the new vCenter-T1 from my T1 Org Admin! But why is it showing a red X?

Because by default, when you add the new SDDC, it defaults to false on “enabled”

So we have to enable it, here’s the body for my PUT – (changed it from false to true)

{
"name": "vCenter-T1",
"id": "urn:vcloud:sddc:29bf292b-07df-4d2f-9155-97dce2bad95d",
"enabled": true,
"vcId": "urn:vcloud:vimserver:419173a9-56bd-471f-929c-3f00c287d21b"
}

Successful….

And green check mark in the T1 org admin view!

Add Tenant permissions and CPoM Plugin

By default, the rights bundles and the organization admin global role does not have SDDC access. Also, we need to publish the CPoM Plugin. Let’s do that first.

Under Provider UI, hit the hamburger menu -> Customize Portal, check the CPoM Extension and Publish –

Publish to selected tenants –

Let’s now provide the correct permissions.

On the Provider UI, toggle to Administration -> Tenant Access Control -> Rights Bundles – select the respective rights bundle you need to provide SDDC access and click Edit:

Under Infrastructure – SDDC, we can see the SDDC View and Manage option. Click View –

Ensure this rights bundle is published to your respective organizations –

Now, under Organization Administrator for the Global Role, add this new view permission –

Finally, publish –

Now, any organization admin can see the associated/published SDDC from their login. This can also apply to another role you might deem necessary.

Proxy Configuration and Logging In

There are three steps that need to take place for successful login:

  1. Checking out the default proxy to line up to the vCD VIP/cells
  2. Activating the proxy
  3. Downloading and configuring the proxy configuration file
  4. Importing the .PEM for certificate management

First, let’s GET the existing proxy configuration –

https://vcd-fdqn/cloudapi/1.0.0/sddcsProxies

Now let’s get the explicit body for this default proxy –

GET https://vcd-fqdn/cloudapi/1.0.0/sddcProxies/urn:vcloud:sddcProxy:625ddc5a-66ee-4d1a-94a3-603a83604cd2

Now if I wanted to create a specific one, I can do a POST and do the following –

We can now see I have two proxies now. So, this is a great way to explicitly state what you’re trying to do.

Next, click on Manage Proxies –

Activate the default proxy –

Now activated, one can download the proxy configuration file, configure it to your browser and also download the proxy certificate (and upload it).

The proxy configuration file is pretty basic –

We can also see how it does the redirection from the cell to the T1-vCenter (check the bottom URL):

Again, before we can successfully login, ensure you’ve configured your browser for the PAC/proxy configuration. If you click the ? icon, there is a tutorial on configuring it for Chrome, Firefox, etc.

Once clicked, you are prompted for the org user along with the access token, and voila! Login.


Conclusion

I am extremely pleased with this new functionality inside of vCloud Director. While you need to know how to utilize the CloudAPI for initial configuration, it’s quite simple and elegant to utilize with Postman. The API-Explorer provides examples too. This is the first iteration of the CPoM service and will only get better as time progresses.

I believe this is a solid use case for dedicated private cloud alongside existing cloud organization VDCs – great way to provide distinct cloud services in a secure manner.

More to come, enjoy!

-Daniel

VMware vCloud Director – Installation of PostgreSQL and Migration from Oracle

In one of my lab instances, I currently have Oracle still running as my backend vCloud Director database. In this post, I am going to document the steps it takes to install Postgres10 and migrate away from Oracle.

Preparation

First, taking a snapshot of my vCD instance – always back up before making any type of database changes! 🙂

Next, my system is a little dated, so I am running a yum update to get all of the latest binaries before we install PgSQL.

I am also running RHEL, so your steps may different based on your distribution.

Installing and Starting PostgreSQL 10

My esteemed colleague, Sean Smith, wrote a nice post on setting up an all-in-one vCD appliance here so I am going to borrow his steps on installing PgSQL 10.

Get the RPM and start the install –

rpm -Uvh https://yum.postgresql.org/10/redhat/rhel-7-x86_64/pgdg-centos10-10-2.noarch.rpm
yum install postgresql10-server postgresql10

Let’s initialize the database –

service postgresql-10 initdb

From there, using chkconfig to enable it to start on boot –

chkconfig postgresql-10 on

Ready to start!

service postgresql-10 start

Let’s change the password to the default postgres account (ignore my superweak password) –

Before we can make the authentication change, we need to set the default postgres user password.

Switch user to postgres and type in psql followed by a \password to set it –

su - postgres
psql
\password

\q and go back into the root console.

Finally, we need to allow authentication to the database. I am going to allow full access to local and remote logins to the database.

Edit the /var/lib/pgsql/10/data/pg_hba.conf file and modify this line –

local all all  peer

to

local all all md5

And adding this line below –

host all all 0.0.0.0/0 md5

Now, edit the postgresql.conf file and remove the # from the ‘listen_addresses line –

Finally, restart the postgresql-10 service –

We are now ready for the next step which is creating the new vCloud database that we can move over to.

Setting up the new vCloud database on PostgreSQL 10

We are now ready to create our new database and prepare it for the migration.

First, let’s switch user over to the postgres account and enter psql –

su - postgres

We need to create the vcloud account with a password –

create user vcloud with password 'vcloudpass';

Now I’m ready to create my vcloud database. I already have my vcloud user account on the system, so no need to create that again. Following these instructions from the VMware master docs.

create database vcloud owner vcloud;

Finally, altering it so it enables the database owner on login:

alter role vcloud with login;

From here, one can setup SSL for secured communication. Since this is my lab, I’m going to skip over that configuration.

Stopping the vCD Instance and Migrating

Let’s stop the vCD service –

Now we can follow the instructions here on the documentation on using the cell-management-tool for dbmigrate

cell-management-tool is under /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/bin –

Now we are ready to run the cell-management-tool dbmigrate command. For me, this was my configuration – it will differ based on your setup.

./cell-management-tool dbmigrate -dbhost vcd-01a.corp.local -dbport 5432 -dbuser vcloud -dbname vcloud -dbpassword vcloudpass

Processing….

Awesome!

Ready now to run the reconfigure-database command, and boom! Complete.

/opt/vmware/vcloud-director/bin/cell-management-tool reconfigure-database -dbhost vcd-01a.corp.local -dbport 5432 -dbuser vcloud -dbname vcloud -dbpassword vcloudpass -dbtype postgres

Let’s start back up vCD….

We are back up and running!

Lessons Learned

  1. While this was not a difficult task, every distribution is different, inclusive of Sean’s post where he did the installation and setup of PostgreSQL-10.
  2. The cell-management-tool works great for database migrations to PostgreSQL-10.
  3. Note that I did not setup SSL communication. This requires further steps to set it up. Sean did a great job on the steps here.
  4. Test, test, test before you do this in production.

Thanks!

-Daniel

How does VMware vCloud Availability for Cloud-to-Cloud 1.5 interoperate with vCD Cross-VDC Networking?

I get this question quite a bit due to the new vCloud Director 9.5 Cross-VDC networking functionality – does vCloud Availability for Cloud-to-Cloud 1.5 (C2C) work with stretched networking inside of Cross-VDC networking?

The answer is: yes!

This is another great addition for recoverability considerations as one could fail over between vCloud Director instances without modifying the guest OS IP address. Furthermore, based on the application architecture, one could have active-active applications and ensure replication/failover in the event of a disaster.

Let’s go through my example high-level design I’ve worked up in my lab –

Example Cross-VDC setup with vCloud Availability for Cloud-to-Cloud 1.5

In the above diagram, we can see I have two active vCloud Director instances, Site-A and Site-B. I have two organizations, “Daniel” that resides in Site-A along with “Daniel-B” that resides in Site-B.

C2C is deployed on each site in the combined model and I have multi-site pairing completed so I can easily manage this between my two sites –

Within my Cross-VDC networking setup, I currently have my active egress setup to Site-A as depicted in the diagram above.

Last of all, I ran a protected workflow from Site-A to Site-B for my Stretched-vApp-VM –

From there, one can either migrate or failover the workload and without any guest OS IP changes. I am going to do a video shortly, but here’s a short GIF I created that shows the ease of use of failing over between my Site-A and Site-B –

via GIPHY

After failover, I can then access Stretched-vApp-VM from the new NAT address on Site-B.

An Organization Administrator could also configure active/active or active/passive egress points for additional resiliency. This provides further capability inside of vCloud Director, especially with stretched networking and a complementary availability solution.

Thanks!

-Daniel

vCloud Director 9.5 Cross-VDC Networking Video Walkthrough and Discussion

Over the past few weeks, Wissam Mahmassani, Abhinav Mishra, and I have created a few walkthrough videos on setting up Cross-VDC networking inside of vCloud Director 9.5.

Unfamiliar with Cross-VDC networking in vCD? Check out this series of blog posts that review the capabilities and design considerations:

Intro and Use Cases

Getting Started with Cross-VDC

High-Level Provider Design

Design Considerations and Conclusion

The intent of these videos is to discuss setting up Cross-VDC networking in vCloud Director but also have a live chat on items we’ve learned along the way with working with it. Quite frankly, it was an open discussion between the team on the inner workings on vCD/NSX and what our development team has done in the backend.

Video Walkthrough

In the first video, we discuss the pre-requisites before we can start configuring vCloud Director for Cross-VDC networking. In essence, the assumption is cross-vCenter NSX has already been established and we have the primary and secondary NSX managers registered.

Next, we review the concept of creating a Datacenter group and what are the different egress options. This is very important as it explicitly controls how traffic exits the overlay environment.

Here, we discuss how BGP weights control our active/passive egress points and what vCD automates in the backend. The key is this is all done without provider/tenant configuration – vCD automates this process.

As a final wrap-up of the BGP weights, we review creation of the stretched networks inside of vCloud Director along with operational management inside of the vCD H5 UI.

Last of all, we demonstrate testing of Cross-VDC and failover of my “Daniel-App” between the two sites. What’s interesting is the ability to migrate egress points without any loss of connectivity. Unintended failover is managed by BGP weights, which the default timer is 60 seconds and could be revised if required.

As stated before, this shows the requirement of having a mirror Edge configuration, especially for NAT configuration and failover testing between sites.

This was a fun experience with the team while reviewing and having open discussions on Cross-VDC networking. We are hoping these are valuable for those of you that are interested in bringing this as a new service inside of vCloud Director.

Thanks!

-Daniel